June 6, The Yugoslav Film Archive (YFA) Day, was marked by first offering a review of the history of the institution, celebrating its 70thanniversary, followed by the Golden Seal Award ceremony, awarded to former students of the Prague Film Academy who became distinguished film directors – Lordan Zafranović, Srđan Karanović, Goran Marković, Rajko Grlić and Goran Paskaljević.
The festivities in the packed Makavejev Hall were attended by former YFA managers and guests of the festival – representatives of various film archives from the region and the world.
The Yugoslav Film Archive’s director, Jugoslav Pantelić, pointed out “the multigenerational effort on the part of those who created and create film art, and on the part of the Yugoslav Film Archive’s employees, which enabled us to feel proud today, seven decades since its founding”.
With an exhaustive overview of the history, funds and activities of the YFA, accompanied by words and images on the screen, Pantelić announced the release of a monograph on the YFA, as well as a new permanent museum exhibition, both scheduled for this fall. A video showcasing the current project of digitally restoring the Serbian film legacy, named “VIP Kinoteka”, was also screened.
The Nitrate Film Festival
Saša Erdeljanović, the manager of YFA’s archives, opened the Nitrate Film Festival, of which he is the director and the selector. The tagline of this year’s Nitrate Film Festival was “70 films for 70 years”. The festival featured films of various genres, including banned, recently unearthed, and newly digitally restored films. Also, for the first time, it featured 9.5 mm films shot in the 1920s and ‘30s, and a review of films about Serbia and Yugoslavia produced until 1941. This year the festival featured films from over 30 film archives around the world.
A special screening of Orson Wells’s The Other Side of the Wind opened the 21st Nitrate Film Festival after the Film Archive Day festivities. The festival ran June 6–16.
A panel discussion entitled “The preservation of cinematic cultural heritage and challenges of the digital age on the territory of former Yugoslavia” was held on June 7, 2019, as part of The Nitrate Film Festival.
Representatives from national film archives of the region joined the panel: Tatjana Rezec Štibilj from the Republic of Slovenia’s Film Archive; Ivan Nedoh from “Slovenska kinoteka”; Dinko Majcen and Mladen Burić from Croatia’s Film Archive, Andro Martinović from the Film Archive of Montenegro; Devleta Filipović from the Film Archive of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Vladimir Angelov from Macedonian “Kinoteka na Makedonija”; Ksenija Zelenović, representing of The Yugoslav Film Archive, and Jugoslav Pantelić, its director, who also moderated the discussion.
The participants welcomed and accepted in principle Pantelić’s proposal to establish closer co-operation among the Film Archives of the region. This would entail a Film Archive being able to carry out a digital restoration of a film made during the times of joint state of Yugoslavia, in case the original materials are being held in the archive of another ex-Yugoslav republic.
Besides sharing practical information, primarily in the field of digital restoration, another proposal made by the Yugoslav Film Archive was met with overall approval: that the archives and cinémathèques of non-EU countries of former Yugoslavia (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Montenegro), before using the technical support provided by European Commission through its TAIEX instrument, jointly determine the date, subject, and location of a meeting which would include interested professionals from these territories.
Representatives of all six states agreed to strengthen their mutual co-operation in terms of exchanging respective experiences and carrying out mutual projects.